Weekly Mailbag

Some questions from some of our valued readers pertaining to this upcoming season and some of the top prospects in the state like Dorman WR Charone Peake (pictured) who is committed to Clemson.
Weekly Mailbag
August 9th, 2010

Is Jadeveon Clowney the real deal? Where do you think he ends up committing?Carl, Irmo SC
I've liked Jadeveon for quite some time and in my opinion he has all the tools that college coaches love. I actually think there's more room for improvement but he's such a physical specimen and has a knack for blowing up plays that I don't see him getting knocked off the #1 perch in-state. There may be other analysts who think the #1 overall is up for grabs but if he goes out and puts up the same kind of numbers he has over the last few seasons I say he could go wire to wire as #1 nationally.

As far as his commitment goes that's a tough call. Some say South Carolina is the team to beat but it's hard to put Alabama on the backburner. Their defense, like South Carolina's, produces big time prospects and of course the lure of playing for a team who has won the national championship this past season could obviously play a role. He's got a tough decision on his hands is all I can say at this point but I still say the chance to play in front of family and friends on a regular basis is going to be tough to overcome especially if the Gamecocks have a 9+ win season this year.

Which receiver do you like better? Hakeem Flowers, Charone Peake, or Shamier Jeffrey?Donald, Rock Hill SC
There are a lot of similarities there between those guys but I believe the saying goes, "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder."

I think Charone is the most polished out of the group overall. His numbers may not blow people away but he's a game changer. Along with A.J. Green, Peake is the best wide receiver to come out of South Carolina in the past ten years in my opinion.

Hakeem is a lot like Charone physically but I don't think he's really had a chance to showcase fully what he's capable of. His quarterback has really improved since last season and I expect some bigger numbers for Hakeem this season.

To me Shamir shows you a taste of his ability but there's still room to improve. Some say he's starting to catch up to big brother Alshon in terms of ability but I disagree with that assessment. Tons of potential but I think he's got to show more aggressiveness to move up the rankings.

Dorman took it to Byrnes last year in the state championship game. Can they do it again? Didn't you go to Byrnes, and is that why Byrnes' players get high ratings?Paul, Spartanburg SC
Dorman has to be the favorite in my opinion. They are the champions until they are beaten. They lost some pieces but I think they won't have to reload as much as Byrnes will. I've heard that the sophomores and freshmen at Byrnes are a group that may be comparable to the outgoing class of 2010 in terms of overall talent but they will have to show that on Friday nights now.

Yes I went to Byrnes and graduated in 1994. I pull for my alma mater but I have to be subjective as possible when it comes to this kind of work. Actually I'm not in charge of star ratings or rankings nationally. I have my own in-state rankings that I provide and some of my opinion is taken into consideration but the final call goes to South regional manager Chad Simmons.

How and why are some of these underclassmen getting so many offers early on?Gene, Taylors SC
Sometimes its simply the potential a college coach sees in a prospect. Some coaches may get a chance to see the kid play in person and realize he's got a chance to be a top flight prospect so they want to try and be one of the first schools to offer if that will help their chances of landing that player.

That "first offer" is usually a big deal for a kid who's 15 or 16 years old and there's been plenty of times where that early or first offer helped seal the deal for the program who offered them first before others jumped on the bandwagon. Winning the recruiting wars and helping a program maintain a level of success or climb the ladder to the next level is what college football is about for most coaches. Job security, need I say more?

What prospects have been your biggest finds over the years? Football and basketball. Jerome, Charleston SC
Normally that'd be a tough question but it's actually an easy one for me. I spotted a freshman named Marcus Lattimore a few years back and he went on to be the #1 rated RB in the nation last year for I told Marcus he had a chance to be special back then and I think he had an idea in terms of the state level but I told him he could be one of the nation's best. I don't know if he thought I was just blowing hot air or not at first but he just had the "it" factor for me and he went on and had one of the most illustrious careers in South Carolina history. I love the kid for not just his on the field accomplishments but he's also one of the most humble and kind hearted kids I've ever encountered in my years of reporting for recruiting websites.

As far as basketball before I started concentrating on just the Palmetto State I covered hoops for the Virginia Cavaliers site, I'd have to say my biggest finds were a couple of guys who just graduated this past season, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Maryland's Greivis Vasquez. I first saw them when they were sophomores coming off the bench for Boo Williams AAU squad. They didn't get a lot of playing time but there was a certain swagger about both of them that really stood out. Neither had any offers when I first scouted them but I pegged them to be big timers before they were seniors.

In fact, I had a couple of high major assistant coaches who told me I was "way off" in my assessment of Vasquez and Reynolds. Needless to say they didn't offer either of those guys and they both went on to be All Big-East and All-ACC players. Greivis was the ACC Player of the Year last year and was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Draft. Reynolds went on to be a 1st Team All-American. He's signed with a team from Italy and will be making a very nice living overseas and should be getting a hard look by NBA teams after a year or two.

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